SAN DIEGO — Victoria West had a feeling it could do some damage on Friday.
The Warriors wanted to use a 20 mph wind out to right field to their advantage at the San Diego Sports Complex.
West rode that breeze for home runs by seniors Daizie Fuentez and Katarina Zarate in an 11-1 mercy-rule win over Mission Veterans Memorial in the Class 5A bi-district playoffs.
Zarate finished 2-for-3 at the plate with five RBIs in the win.
“All year, the seniors have been the core and leaders of this team,” said coach Jody Thompson. “I think tonight it showed. They stepped up and said, ‘Hey, we’re not ready to go home yet.’”
Fuentez sparked a seven-run second inning for the Warriors with a solo home run.
Victoria West made history last year on the softball field. The Warriors hope lightning can strike a second time as they begin their playoff run on Friday.
The Warriors followed that with RBIs from Grace Weiler, Maliea Huerta, Marisa Rosalez and Alexis James, and a two-run single by Zarate.
“(Fuentez’s home run) was a really big hit,” Zarate said. “She had a lot of confidence whenever she came into the dugout. It boosted our confidence and every player after her went to the plate confident.”
West (19-8) was 5-for-5 at the plate for six RBIs with runners in scoring position that inning. The Warriors finished 8-for-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The Warriors did not strike out against Veterans Memorial’s ace Jazmine Villareal.
Victoria West capitalized on four East errors to claim its sixth consecutive win in the rivalry series on Friday.
“I think we all just stayed within ourselves,” Zarate said. “We went up to the plate and were aggressive and each swing was intentful. I feel like when we’re in tempo at the plate, good things happen.”
Zarate hit a three-run home run to center field to provide the only runs of the third inning for West.
The senior shortstop opened the game with a lineout double play in the first that killed a rally of runners at second and third with no outs.
She responded with a two-run single the next frame during West’s seven-run barrage.
A two-base error nearly spelled disaster for Victoria West pitcher Alexis James.
“I knew it was a solid hit,” Zarate said. “I knew that if I just kept my confidence for the next two at-bats, I would do it for my team. I kept my confidence and my next two at-bats were really good.”
Junior pitcher James picked up the win in the circle after allowing one run and two hits in five innings of work. She retired 15 of the 18 batters she faced and allowed one walk while striking out six.
The only hits allowed by James came in the second inning on a one-out triple by Bri Solis and an RBI single by Cory Murillo.
After those hits, James went on to retire 10 of the next 11 batters she faced.
“It felt amazing to go out and execute on defense,” James said. “It carried over into our offense. All around, it boosts your confidence. It just felt amazing.”
West will face Sharyland Pioneer in the area round.
Class 5A Bi-District
Victoria West 11, Mission Veterans Memorial 1
Vets 010 00 — 1 2 2
West 173 0 x — 11 13 0
W: Alexis James. L: Jazmine Villareal. Highlights: (VM) Bri Solis 1-for-3, 1 3B, 1 R; (W) Katarina Zarate 2-for-3, 5 RBI, 1 HR; Maliea Huerta 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 2B; Daizie Fuentez 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 HR; Grace Weiler 2-for-3, 1 RBI. Records: Mission Veterans Memorial 16-9; West 19-8.